President Donald Trump will have to pay $7.9 million if he wants a statewide recount of unofficial results in Wisconsin showing him losing to Democrat Joe Biden by about 20,500 votes.
That is four times higher than what the recount cost four years ago, a cost increase that elections officials said was driven by expenses related to conducting a recount during the coronavirus pandemic.
Counties had until Tuesday to certify the election results. Assuming the last county canvass isn’t filed until Tuesday as expected, Trump would then have until 5 p.m. on Wednesday to request the recount. The recount could begin as soon as Thursday and be done no later than Dec. 1.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Monday released the recount timeline and cost estimate, which was based on costs submitted by the 72 counties.
‘We still have not received any indication that there will or will not be a recount,’ said Meagan Wolfe, the state’s chief election official. ‘But we want Wisconsin’s voters to know we are ready.’
Trump has made unfounded claims of voting irregularities and fraud, even though Wisconsin elections officials have said there were no irregularities or widespread problems reported.
Separately Monday, three voters who filed a federal lawsuit last week seeking to exclude some ballots in Milwaukee, Dane and Menominee counties withdraw their lawsuit.
Attorney James Bopp said he could not say why because of attorney-client privilege. The voters had alleged widespread fraud in absentee balloting.
Trump has been raising money off the expected recount and has indicated that he will move ahead with it, even though Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes would not be enough to change the outcome of the race.
Trump’s Wisconsin campaign spokeswoman Anna Kelly did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the estimated cost.
Recounts are not automatic under Wisconsin law. But any losing candidate who is within 1 point of the winner can request one.
Trump lost by about six-tenths of a point, based on unofficial results. Candidates must pay for recounts if they are more than 0.25 points behind the winner.
As of midday Monday, 68 of 72 counties had completed certification of the vote. Those results, which include provisional ballots that were counted after Election Day, show that Biden picked up 122 votes and Trump gained 107 statewide so far. The net gain was 15 for Biden.